So, what first aid provision do I need in my workplace?

Hi, this is my first blog my name is Lynne and I own Horton Training. I have written it to hopefully help you work out what first aid provisions you need to meet HSE requirements. If you need any further information please feel free to contact me

Horton Training image of Lynne Horton

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 states that you must have the following. 

  • a stocked first aid kit,
  • an appointed person
  • Information to employees what the First aid arrangements are.
First aid kit location sign

So, what is an appointed person?

An appointed person is someone who looks after the first aid equipment. They also call for emergency services when needed. They can also cover for the first aider when away for unexpected reasons. This is not when away on planned holiday/leave.

If you are a small company with low risks and less than 25 employees, then an appointed person is all you need. An example of this would be an office with three employees. This person does not have to be First aid trained. For a higher hazard company such as assembly work, warehousing etc with less than 5 employees then an appointed person is also acceptable.

If you have an adequate amount of first aiders in your company, then you do not need to have an extra appointed person.

What is a first aider?

A first aider is someone trained in:

Emergency First aid 

First aid at work

Other training relating to workplace or job role. An example being someone working with children under 5. 

If possible, it should be can work under pressure and can communicate well. This role can be stressful so someone that can remain calm and not panic is ideal. 

Dont panic

How many first aiders do I need?

This can vary depending on many factors.

  • Is our workplace spread over a large area or on different floors?
  • Do you work 9-5 over 24 hours a day
  • How many employees do I have?

Low hazard 

Fewer than 25 employees = Appointed person

25 – 50 employees = At least one first aider trained in Emergency First Aid

More than 50 employees = 1 first aider trained in First Aid at work for everyone 100 employees (or part thereof)

Higher Hazard

Fewer than 5 employees = Appointed person

5 – 50 employees = One first aider trained in Emergency First aid or first Aid at work depending on the types of injuries expected.

More than 50 employees = At least one first aider trained in First Aid at work for every 50 employees (or part thereof)

  • What is the risk of injury in my workplace? Will I have an appointed person or first aider to cover holiday/leave?

What should I have in my First aid box?

There is no legal need for what you have in your first aid box. There is a British Safety institute compliant First Aid Kit – BS 8599, but you are not forced to have one of these.

It is important to ensure you decide your workplaces requirements before ordering. Even though they be a BS 8599 Kit some have, for example Burns dressings and some do not. It is important to think whether you are likely to need this type of First aid equipment. This will ensure you have what you need and are not paying for extra items that are not needed.

If you are a school or a workplace dealing with vulnerable people you may not wish to have safety pins in your kit.

School first aid kit

 If you are a farmer, you may need items to deal with significant or life-threatening bleeds.

Farmers first aid kit

A school or a gym might consider adding cold packs to their kits.

gym first aid kit

It is acceptable to have more items stored away from to the first aid kit. For example, a clip board and pen, cold packs, burns kits. As discussed before, it is important that all staff are aware of where the extra equipment is.

Dont forget to check

The most important thing with a first aid kit is it is checked on a regular basis. Stock replaced and an item(s)that have an expiry date are still in date. 

Sticker for first aid kit

My top tip is to put a sticker on the front of the First Aid Kit. State the next item to expire so you can see when something needs replacing. Make sure the contents list reflects what you have in your kit and not the contents list that came with the box. This will avoid confusion. 

Giving medication is not on First Aid at work courses, so tablets and medication should not be in the kit. You may have an employee uses medication for a medical condition such as Asthma. It may be worth checking whether the Emergency First Aid course is enough to meet these extra needs.

If you want any further information on your First aid provision visit the HSE website link

If I can assist you in any way please contact me:

Tel: 07552216030


Published by Lynne Horton

I served for 20 years as an RAF Medic. During this time I spent 9 years as an instructor teaching basic first aid to more advanced trauma. I was medically discharged and now deliver freelance First Aid training and now deliver under my own company.

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